Monday, October 27, 2014

B2B Redux

Last year my full iron distance race was Beach 2 Battleship, and it was a blast. This years B2B was this past saturday, and I thought I would drive down there since I had several friends doing the race. Some morning delays got me on the road a couple of hours later than expected, but I still had plenty of time in Wilmington.  I got out of the house about 12:45 and arrived in Wilmington around 3 pm. Unfortunately my old fraternity brother Scott's relay team (his wife was running) finished around 2:50 and they headed straight out of the finish line, so I just missed them! Dang. They live in DC and I was really looking forward to hanging out some.

At the finish line, the first person I did find was my friend Chelsea, who swam in a relay team. She and her biker were still waiting on their runner to finish. She also recently got married, so I really enjoyed getting to hang out some with her! Unfortunately, we didn't get a picture together, but eventually I did get a good view of the battleship.

Shameless selfie with the ship
I was hoping to find Raleigh triathlete and friend Mariah coming into the finish, but ended up missing her (that's 2 misses and 1 find if you're keeping score). In a vain attempt to find her, I started walking the run course backwards. Cheering athletes through downtown Wilmington is a lot of fun. The whole town comes out to keep everybody motivated!

Runners on the boardwalk
After walking about a mile and a half of the course, I finally came upon a bar that I remembered. Outside of downtown, the roads get very industrial, then there's a bit of a lone bar section of town before it goes into this state park. At that bar, I actually found another fraternity brother and his wife! Jon and Kim are close friends of ours, we see them at the Myrtle Beach Marathon every year as well as on my boy's weekends with the whole gang of us. It was really great just getting to hang out with Jon for a while.

Me, Jon, Kim
After a while I started to get hungry so Jon gave me a ride back into downtown. I ended up at the Dock St Oyster Bar at his recommendation, and it did not disappoint. I had half a dozen oysters and a blackened shrimp sandwich that was all incredibly fresh. Then it was time to get back to that finish line!

Another shot of the battleship at dusk
Watching it get dark at the finish line of an ironman is always an interesting and fun experience. You get to see people heading back out for their second lap of the run course knowing it's already getting really cold and they still have about 3 hours of running left to go... it's intense. The determination and dedication becomes visible from everyone. Seeing the crying finishers, and the exuberant finishers, and just soaking up the energy of that environment is electrifying.

The athletes finishing area after dark
I was hanging out waiting on two more friends to finish, and I left about 11:24 into the race. I couldn't find the live athlete tracker on my phone, so I had no idea where they were. if I had known...  Kristin finished her first Ironman in 11:40. Welcome to the club! That was pretty amazing. I saw her husband once while I was hanging out with Jon at that bar, but didn't say anything to him. If I had known she was that close I would have stuck around for a while. Then Karen finished in 12:40 after only doing the swim and bike in Chattanooga, she got her ironman redemption for the year with a nice strong finish. I was looking for her out on the run course, she had bib #666 which I thought was pretty hilarious.

I made it back to Raleigh about 9:15, caught the fireworks at the state fair (from the kitchen window) at 9:45, then at 10 pm we had a software deployment at work so I had to hop on the google hangout and test my software.  All in all, I saw 2 friends and missed 4, but that didn't really matter. B2B is an electric environment, and anytime you can get down to Wilmington on race day for any reason you're going to have fun. I sure did. So glad I went down.


Karen said...

oh I missed you! I thought I might have seen you around the finish but for some reason I didn't remember you having a beard so decided it wasn't you. LOL. Sounds likeyou had a full day! :)

CautiouslyAudacious said...

It's great getting to see the race from the other side! Sounds like you had fun!

Abby said...

Sounds like in spite of some misses it was still an amazing day!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

That is awesome that you went down to spectate. I love race atmospheres as it's such a positive, exciting time! I am sure it brought back emotions from your IM finishes, too!

Tea said...

Very full day of spectating! My Mike wore a Garmin for my 70.3. He walked 9 miles that day. Playing sherpa is no joke!

Kenley said...

Looks as though you had a blast with friends and all. How is the Murtle Beach Marathon? Im thinking of one to do 2016. O man thanks for the fiber tip. After the two poo i was gtg.

Kenley said...

Hey John is your email babyfishmouth? Lol. I keep getting a failed email sent notification. Hmmm